Christmas Tournament draws strong crowd, showcases talent

More than 18,000 fans packed the Show Me Center over four days for the 75th annual Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament.

The championship featured Charleston and Notre Dame Regional High School, with the Bluejays (9-1) defeating the Bulldogs (9-3) by a score of 64-41. Though a somewhat lopsided final score, Notre Dame, coming off an impressive win at Cape Girardeau Central High School, played a tough game against the talented Charleston squad. The two teams will play a regular season matchup at 7:30 tonight at Notre Dame.

Before the championship matchup, the family of Frank Ellis was honored at center court. With a photo of Ellis displayed on the scoreboard, the Show Me Center crowd honored his family with a standing ovation. Ellis, who died last year, was the voice of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament for 26 years. You can read more about his tenure with the tournament in a column that appears with this editorial on www.semissourian.com.

The Fan-Voted MVP went to Oran’s Tyson Goodale, who scored 106 points in the four games Oran played in the tournament. Nearly 7,000 votes were cast, with Goodale collecting 1,558 — about 500 more than the next closest player.

This tournament is special for many reasons. For many it’s about tradition, taking a few days off work to watch impressive basketball talent and visit with friends. But it’s also one of the early season opportunities to see how area teams stack up. This year did not disappoint.

Thank you to all the players, coaches, referees and volunteers who make this event a success. To read more about this year’s tournament, visit www.semoball.com/Christmas.